Cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) and certain genital warts are known to be caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Cervical cancer (or even HPV virus related cancer of the vagina and vulva) are a result of a history of infection with high-risk types of HPV in 99% of cases.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in Indian women and Indian women face a 2.5% cumulative lifetime risk and 1.4% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer. It does not present with any symptoms until late stages.
Hence vaccines against HPV have been developed to prevent progression of the viral infection to cancer. It prevents developing cervical cancer and HPV related genital warts by up to 90%.
So, at what age can you have this vaccine?
Girls as young as 9 years of age may have it. It’s recommended it to be given from the age of 12- 13 years up to the age of 26 years. The earlier it is given before sexual exposure, the better the effect. Hence, those who have not had any sexual exposure may also take the vaccine. It is best had immediately after a period. It is not recommended in pregnancy.
How safe are these vaccines?
These vaccines are FDA approved. Even the CDC has approved these vaccines as safe and effective.
What if I get pregnant while getting my vaccines?
If you do get pregnant after taking one or two doses, the remaining doses can be taken after pregnancy.